Hello loyal friends and compatriots, I came today with the singular purpose of writing a stunning and exquisite entry that would move even the most stoic of Puritans to some outward expression of true emotion...however upon sitting down to write this little entry up I was struck with the realization that while this update may delight and bring the random chuckle it certainly won't be one for the record books. But that's ok I suppose. The weather here however has been one for the record books - we have been simply dumped on as of late; days upon days of torrential rains. Banks and businesses have closed briefly and the government declared a "State of Red Alert" which supposedly means that everyone needs to be in their homes and off the streets. Apparently no one heeds these warnings because the whole world is seemingly going about their business as usual only now with wet shoes and pant legs. The funny part though is that I am freezing - I have been going about in long sleeves and a North Face Fleece for the past week...it seems almost ridiculous to imagine that in here in Honduras I could be anything but steamy and sweaty but alas here we are. In other news I just got back from Costa Rica - again. Upon arriving here in May I was informed that I would need to either leave the country every 90 days or secure a residency visa. I began the process but soon found out that it would cost me nearly $1,500 and take almost a year to secure. I calculated it all out and discovered that traveling by bus to Costa Rica for a brief stint every 90 days and staying with Flora Mora and family actually costs a lot less than a visa...and in that I love that little country with all my heart it wasn't a tough decision to make. It's interesting traveling by bus, you meet a lot of random people, observe a lot of strange people and see fantastic landscape and interesting sights that you never would in the cabin of a plane. I left San Pedro Sula at 5:oo am 2 Mondays ago and arrived in Managua, Nicaragua a 5:00 pm - that trip was one of observing backpackers from Ireland (it's surprising how similar they looked to my friends of very Irish descent, especially those from New England) and some Mennonite-like Christians from Nebraska (they looked the part what with the plan dress and quietism but they weren't at all related to me). The next morning we departed Managua and arrived at the Costa Rican border around 11:30 am - I decided that I didn't want to travel 7 more hours all the way to San Jose just yet but instead wanted to visit my friend Jeffrey and his family who are now back living up North in Veracruz. This meant that I had to basically find my own ride over to Upala (a good two hours away). As luck would have it there happened to be a taxi-driver from Upala who was headed that way and offered to give me a lift for a discounted price. It was the longest taxi ride of my life in no small part to the fact that 45 minutes into the trip we entered this little town and were immediately hailed by a man who turned out to be the owner of the taxi and the taxi driver's good friend. He too needed to go to Upala - we got back on our way but about an hour in he invited us to his home to meet his family (he wanted them, all Christians, to meet a real, live American Missionary). So we stopped off at this sprawling wooden structure that looked like a home out of Swiss Family Robinson and there we sat for 30 minutes drinking freshly squeezed orange juice with his wife, daughter and grandsons. We eventually got back on our way (before I left they exhorted me to return and told me that their house was always open to me, I can't imagine that I'll ever trod down that lonely country road in Northern Costa Rica again...but I like the thought). We pulled into Upala in mid-afternoon and there I expected them to leave me but they had other plans - first we went to the pharmacy to fill out a prescription together, then we went to the bank together to deposit some funds, then we happened upon the taxi driver's sister and took her for a spin and then we stopped off at the taxi owner's friend's house to pick up a free cell-phone. After being in Upala-proper for about an hour I finally decided to take my leave and ask that they drop me off at the local bus depot. With tears in their eyes they let me go and there I waited for the next leg of my journey for a bus to Veracruz. If Paris Hilton lived in UpalaThe bus finally rolled up around 4:30 and and hour later, after traveling on a dirt and rock road, I disembarked in Veracruz covered from head to toe in a thick layer of dust. My time with Jeffrey and his mother was glorious, they had no idea I was coming but they quickly made me feel at home. We spent the night catching up, talking and listening to classic latin music. I left the next day for San Jose, I didn't really want to but Flora was expecting me - I pulled into San Jose that night around 9 and when I showed up at Flora's she was waiting for me with a big pot of Arroz con Pollo which was nice 'cuz I was hungry. I spent 2 days in San Jose in which time I managed to visit La Carpio, take coffee with Alejandra, take Antonio and some La Carpio boys to the movies, eat dinner with Alejandra and meet some kids from New England that will be doing a stint of service in La Ceiba starting in a few weeks. All in all while it may have been a whirlwind tour of my favorite haunts and favorite people (I spent 57.5 hours in either a bus or a taxi in total), it felt so good to see them all again and reconnect. Maycol The Biggest Cockroach I've ever seen Lionel & his sonDishing the Dirt...& One of the funniest things I've ever seen... Leading Jesus Loves MeBreakdancing in the rain...& Cafe MundoI got a haircut the other day...it was a disaster. One of the many rules that I have to abide by here in 1954 is that I can't grow my hair long...it's just not acceptable. Which is a shame because I'd been so looking forward to coming to Central America and really letting my hair down - literally. Anyway, from time to time I have to get my haircut and as you all know I am very much a creature of habit - the first time I had to get my haircut my friend Karen took me to a beauty salon owned by family friends thus I've been going back (with Karen en tow) ever since. Well this last time Karen absolutely refused to accompany me, she told me that I was a big boy and didn't need her to hold my hand. So off I went despondent and convinced of certain faliure - I explained to Cristy that I wanted just a little taken off the top but tht she could feel free to-go-to-town on the back - it went alright at first and I thought pretty highly of myself for having explained my desires so thoroughly but I soon noticed that Cristy wasn't letting up and I was slowly being transformed into a Marine. When she finally finished I had shorter hair than I think I've ever had...even when Shay in Costa Rica had to fix my self-inflicted hair disaster. I, as I always do, told her that I loved it and gave her a big old thumbs up and then I ran out of there and in search of the nearest hat. My friends told me later that all barbers and stylists do that - they'll just keep on cutting unless you physically stop them, which explains why so many men in this town walk around with crew-cuts I suppose. Oh, I'm reading my first book in Spanish - The Alchemist...El Alquimista in Spanish...granted it was originally written in Portuguese but that's close enough...Norman gave it to me to begin to open me up to the world of Latin literature. Hmmm...the only other piece of news that I seem to have is that I've gotten my friend Norman hooked on The Shins - he comes over nearly every night and we sit on my porch and talk about life while "New Slang" & "Weird Divide" lilt and sway in the background. He's absolutley fanatical about them, who isn't really, to the point that he knows the lyrics by heart despite his inability to understand them. I'm so proud. Well that does it, I know this was short but when you spend nearly half your week riding in a bus and reading a history of the 1927 Mississippi Flood you're not exactly left with a mountain of material to blog about. Blessings to you this week. Peace!